Blackwater youthful big man JP Erram said he’ll go on with his workmanlike approach on the floor on the opening day of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when the Elite collide with reigning champion Talk ‘N Text.
But come February 10, Erram won’t be facing Talk ‘N Text’s fiery import Ivan Johnson, who is set to serve his 1-game ban for engaging in a skirmish with Erram and teammate Frank Golla in a practice game last week at the Moro Lorenzo Gym.
The 6-foot-7 Erram said he was given a hard shove by the stocky Talk ‘N Text import during a defensive sequence. Moments later, he said the former Atlanta Hawk punched Golla, hitting the latter’s shoulder before cooler heads intervened.
The 26-year-old Erram, ironically selected 15th overall by Talk ‘N Text in the 2013 PBA Draft, said he never meant any harm on Johnson while trying to draw a charge.
“I was in standing in front of him (Johnson) during fastbreak. I was supposed to draw a charge, but then I tried to evade him but accidentally, we got entangled and he had an awkward landing,” recalled Erram when asked by FOX Sports on Friday after Blackwater’s 93-110 loss to Barangay Ginebra in a practice game at the CCF gym in Pasig.
Erram said he tried to help Johnson up after the landing, but the American stared back at him in anger, stood up and gave him a hard shove.
Johnson then hit Golla afterwards.
“I was able to talk to some referees today who reviewed the tape of our game (against Talk ‘N Text). And they were telling me that I didn’t do anything,” he said.
“It was not my intention to hurt him. I’m not that type of person who will hurt another players. I was merely trying to helping him up when he fell.”
Erram said even if Talk ‘N Text will play all-Filipino to start the mid-season conference, Blackwater coach Leo Isaac already told them to never let their guards down considering that the Tropang Texters are a powerhouse squad.
“Coach Leo always reminds us to just play our role and maintain the good habits we’ve developed in practice,” said Erram, who is coming off PBA career-high averages of 11.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in the Philippine Cup.
MJ Rhett, the former Ole Miss standout will be reinforcing the Elite in the Commissioner’s Cup. — By Richard Dy